Sea ice algae, a major food source for herbivorous plankton and benthos in the eastern Bering Sea.


funded by NSF through award 0732767

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Background information

The Bering Sea shows the largest seasonal sea ice advance and retreat of any Arctic and sub-Arctic region, averaging about 1700km. It provides a multitude of relevant services for structuring the Bering Sea ecosystems during periods of ice cover and beyond (see figure below).The high Bering Sea ice algal biomass likely plays a significant role for herbivores either through direct grazing or during periods of ice melt where ice material is released. This effort is part of the BEST/BSIERP program, which has been jointly funded by NSF and NPRB.

Sea ice services

Useful references

1. Moran SB, M.W. Lomas, R.P. Kelly, K. Iken, R. Gradinger & Mathis JT (2012) Seasonal succession of net primary productivity, particulate organic carbon export, and autotrophic community composition in the eastern Bering Sea. Deep-Sea Research II,. 65-70: 84-97.
2. Wang J, Hulck K, Hong SM, Atkinson S, & Li QX (2011) Accumulation and maternal transfer of polychlorinated biphenyls in Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) from Prince William Sound and the Bering Sea, Alaska. Environmental Pollution 159(1):71-77
3. Siddon EC, Duffy-Anderson JT, & Mueter FJ (2011) Community-level response of fish larvae to environmental variability in the southeastern Bering Sea. Mar. Ecol.-Prog. Ser. 426:225-239
4. Seeb LW, Seeb JE, Habicht C, Farley EV, & Utter FM (2011) Single-Nucleotide Polymorphic Genotypes Reveal Patterns of Early Juvenile Migration of Sockeye Salmon in the Eastern Bering Sea. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140(3):734-748.
5. Palof KJ, Heifetz J, & Gharrett AJ (2011) Geographic structure in Alaskan Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) indicates limited lifetime dispersal.Marine Biology 158(4):779-792
6. Mathis JT, Cross JN, & Bates NR (2011) Coupling primary production and terrestrial runoff to ocean acidification and carbonate mineral suppression in the eastern Bering Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 116
7. Hunt GL, et al. (2011) Climate impacts on eastern Bering Sea foodwebs: a synthesis of new data and an assessment of the Oscillating Control Hypothesis. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 68(6):1230-1243.
8. Grant WS, Merkouris SE, Kruse GH, & Seeb LW (2011) Low allozyme heterozygosity in North Pacific and Bering Sea populations of red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus): adaptive specialization, population bottleneck, or metapopulation structure? Ices Journal of Marine Science 68(3):499-506
9. Goethel DR, Quinn TJ, & Cadrin SX (2011) Incorporating Spatial Structure in Stock Assessment: Movement Modeling in Marine Fish Population Dynamics. Reviews in Fisheries Science 19(2):119-136
10. Coyle KO, et al. (2011) Climate change in the southeastern Bering Sea: impacts on pollock stocks and implications for the oscillating control hypothesis. Fisheries Oceanography 20(2):139-156
11. Mueter FJ, et al. (2009) Ecosystem responses to recent oceanographic variability in high-latitude Northern Hemisphere ecosystems. Progress In Oceanography 81(1-4):93-110.
12. Ikeda M (2009) Mechanisms of the recent sea ice decay in the Arctic Ocean related to the Pacific-to-Atlantic pathway. Influence of Climate Change on the Changing Arctic and Sub-Arctic Conditions, eds Nihoul JCJ & Kostiaanoi AG (Springer, Berlin), pp 161-169.
13. Drinkwater KF, et al. (2009) Recent climate forcing and physical oceanographic changes in Northern Hemisphere regions: A review and comparison of four marine ecosystems. Prog. Oceanogr. 81:10-28
14. Brodeur RD, et al. (2008) Rise and fall of jellyfish in the eastern Bering Sea in relation to climate regime shifts. Progress In Oceanography 77(2-3):103-111.

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For updated information on sea ice conditions in the Bering Sea: check Cryosphere today.

Sea Ice in the Bering Sea:




page modified February 21, 2013.